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Missile Craft Squadron

This unit handles the primary duties of naval operations including routine patrols and combat exercises. Members of the flotilla operate various ships patrolling the Israeli coast. The missile boats' operations are shrouded in secrecy, and little of what they do is published. The timing and location of their operations is also kept under wraps.

The Second Lebanese War is the official name given to the military operation held in the summer of 2006. The war began on July 12th and ended on August 14th. On July 14th, 2006 Hezbollah fired at an Israeli missile boat, on which four naval soldiers were killed. In July 2006 tnitial probe into attack on missile boat revealed the Navy had no intelligence of possible missile threat in area where boat was operating; the aircraft interception system was turned off due to presence of IDF planes in sector. Missile boats are equipped with a missile interception system capable of automatically intercepting any missile or aircraft approaching it. However, as the boat was operating in an area where a large number of IDF planes were present, the Navy had refrained from activating the system.

Almost four years after the attack on the Israeli warship during the Lebanon war, the navy's torpedo boat fleet has been awarded a mark of distinction, winning the IDF's only prize for operational excellence. "We operate in every location in which Israel has naval interests," said Colonel Eli Sharvit, commander of the navy's missile boat fleet. "During the previous year, we sailed to the same extent that we would during a war year. We are fighting the axis of evil - a recognized axis - and our operations are ongoing, lasting days and weeks."

On the night of November 3, 2009, the Israeli Navy stopped an arms shipment on its way from Iran to Syria, destined for Hezbollah in Lebanon. The weapons were being transported by the cargo ship MV Francop, which was flying the Antigua and Barbuda flag, and was rented by UFS (United Feeding Services), a Cypriot freight delivery company. The weapons were delivered from Iran and unloaded at the Egyptian port of Damiat, where they were transferred to the MV Francop on November 2-3 and dispatched to the Syrian port of Latakia, with scheduled stops at Limassol, Cyprus, and Beirut, Lebanon. About 500 tons of weapons were seized, hidden in 36 containers. The arms included thousands of 107mm and 122mm rockets, 106mm recoilless artillery shells, hand grenades and various types of light weapon ammunition. Apparently Hezbollah was the final destination for the weapons. Should the shipment have been completed, it would have significantly enlarged Hezbollah's arsenal. Some of the weapons were high-quality, chiefly 60mm, 81mm and 120mm mortar shells produced between 2007 and 2009. The large quantity of rockets (about 2,800) equaled about 70% of those fired during the second Lebanon war (July 2006), when Hezbollah fired approximately 4,000 rockets of various types into Israeli territory, most of them 122mm rockets similar to those found on board the ship. Towards evening a missile boat made contact with the ship and requested permission to board and search. The missile boat was joined by two others with crews of naval commandos. Around midnight, when the ship was near Cyprus and about 100 nautical miles west of Israel, it was boarded and its manifests were examined.

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Page last modified: 09-07-2011 02:52:14 ZULU